The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal blues

Bengali film actors have a grievance. And among those willing to come out in the open and talk about it is actress Churni Ganguly, who plays a lead role in the successful Bengali teleserial Chora Bali. “Though Bengal has so much talent, there is a trend now to cast people from Bombay in Bengali films,” she complains. “So we are increasingly becoming dubbing artistes.” Producers, she holds, are under the impression that stars from Bombay attract audiences. But Churni shouldn’t despair — India’s most successful Bengali brand, after all, has made a comeback after being discarded. So can Tollywood’s producers keep Bengali talent out, when a man called Chappell couldn’t

Helen, Part II

They say history often repeats itself. Take, for example, the legend of Helen, the drop-dead-gorgeous queen of King Menelaus of Sparta, whose elopement with Paris brought a thousand Spartan ships to Troy and wreaked havoc on the Trojan empire. Paris was killed, and Helen repossessed by Menelaus, and the two, a few accounts hold, lived a fairly happy life afterwards. Version II of the Helen story stars Devyani Rana, the 34-year-old blue-blooded lady of the Scindia family of Gwalior, who’s just tied the knot with Aishwarya Singh, grandson of central minister Arjun Singh. The marriage at the Scindia Villa on February 23 came nearly six years after the bloody regicide in Nepal, when a drunken Prince Dipendra opened fire on King Birendra and relatives before he himself succumbed to bullet wounds. The reason for his rage was — well — the same Devyani, whom he loved but could not marry. Uncanny similarity, that' Well, as long as it all ends in happiness

Silver scream

His is not quite the face that could launch a thousand ships, but Chagan Bhujbal has always been known for his political showmanship. So it’s not surprising that the Maharashtra PWD minister (a former deputy chief minister) is being persuaded to extend his talents to the silver screen. He is not totally new to celluloid, having performed a cameo in a Marathi film earlier. But now he may play a pivotal role in a Marathi film called Baap Manoos — or the Great Man. Bhujbal, in the middle of campaigning for the coming Zilla Parishad elections, modestly says that he knows little about all this. “The director, Pappu Lad, is an NCP activist. He should have a better idea,” he offers. Lad, on the other hand, is sure that Bhujbal is the Baap Manoos in the film. “Bhujbalsaheb will have the major role, a lot of expressions but his dialogues will be dubbed,” he says. Let us hope that the box office will hold better prospects than the ballot boxes have done in recent times for Bhujbal and his party.

Shakin’ all over

If it’s March, it must be Mumbai. Latina sensation Shakira is going to be in the metro for a show that promises to be moving — literally, that is. Shakira, who knows how to shake her booty, is going to sing — well, perform, really — at the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex on March 25. If Gabriel Garcia Marquez didn’t fear flying, he would, no doubt, have been sitting right there. For the Nobel laureate, as we all know, admires Shakira hugely. Marquez, and a million others.

Courting fashion

Monica knows her don, and she knows what to don. The one-time and small-time actress has been making a style statement — or you could call it an undertrial statement. When Bedi, an associate of underworld don Abu Salem, was an undertrial and locked in the Chanchulguda prison in Hyderabad,she reportedly had five suitcases of clothes and personal belongings with her. Bedi appeared in court in trendy outfits — but had to forego them all when she was sentenced to three years in jail. The leftovers of her luggage, however, are now coming to good use in Bhopal where she is facing a new trial. Bedi, we are told, is yet to repeat a dress. But then, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

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